With the assistance of a doctor, George and Shirley Brickenden died together in their Toronto retirement home after almost 73 years of marriage.
As the Globe and Mail reported, in the days leading up to their deaths, they had dinner at their favourite restaurant and gathered with family members. Their children were with them when they passed away. It was, it seems, the best possible way for them to go. The Brickendens were ill and each was independently assessed as being eligible for assisted dying. But their deaths raise questions for many elderly couples and their families. The current law requires that natural death be reasonably foreseeable, but that could be true of anyone in their 90s.
Obviously, there are safeguards that must be in place to ensure no one is coerced into choosing assisted death. But having seen the Brickendens control their own fate and plan the end of their lives exactly as they wanted, it’s fair to ask: If we’re going to allow some people to die on their own terms, why wouldn’t we extend that opportunity to others?